Sustainable Communities Project Summaries

Based on project selection criteria, the Metro Boston Sustainable Communties Steering Committee selected projects that placed particular emphasis on the MetroFuture goals related to equity and sustainability. 

The Steering Committee also prioritized funding projects that are diverse in nature and in their geographic location.

The following projects advance MetroFuture objectives in dozens of the region’s cities and towns, and engage in collaborative work with cutting-edge approaches to the region’s problems.

City of Everett Community Visioning Process

Applicant: City of Everett
Activity Type:Municipal Planning
Geography:City of Everett
Project Partners:Community organizations and MAPC
Funding Approved:$52,796

The City of Everett’s Department of Planning and Development will work with local community organizations, Everett citizens, and MAPC to create an inclusive and comprehensive “Community Vision” vision for Everett’s future planning and development.

With guidance from a steering committee, the visioning process will include the design and organization of community gatherings and the drafting of a community vision and goals for Everett. This project will use innovative public engagement techniques to go beyond vision to specific goals for housing, transportation, economic development, and public services in Everett, laying the groundwork for sustainable and equitable master planning in an underserved environmental justice community. It provides a good opportunity to conduct inclusive engagement and examine issues of displacement within a traditional master planning context. The City has pursued planning and zoning projects in the past, but this visioning and planning activity will feature substantially more extensive community engagement than have been previously employed.

Please visit the Everett Community Visioning Project project page

Developing the Orange Line Opportunity Corridor

Oak groveApplicant: The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC)
Activity Type: CDC Pre-Development Planning
Geography: Boston, Somerville, Malden, Medford, Melrose
Project Partners: MAPC
Funding Approved: $30,000

Significant new opportunities exist to dramatically improve the Orange Line corridor in ways that will strengthen local neighborhoods, provide significant opportunity to area residents, enhance regional equity and economic growth, and dramatically increase transit ridership in several communities.

Currently, there are several active Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning efforts along nearly a dozen stops along the line; their potential development could increase access to opportunities for several communities and hundreds of thousands of residents in the region.

MACDC and its members will work with MAPC and other partners to explore the potential for promoting the MBTA’s Orange Line as an Opportunity Corridor by advancing a long‐term agenda for a diverse mix of commercial, residential, institutional and recreational opportunities along the transit line from Jamaica Plain to Malden. MAPC will support key activities to create a corridor-wide picture of current and potential development plans from Forest Hills to Oak Grove, with applications for both CDC strategic planning, transit advocacy, and collaboration with key stakeholders around the opportunities of a comprehensive Orange Line agenda.

Please visit the Orange Line Opportunity Corridor project page

Feasibility Study for Redevelopment of Millis Town Center Properties

Millis, MAApplicant: Town of Millis
Activity Type: Local Planning
Geography: Millis Town Center
Project Partners: MAPC
Funding Approved: $35,000

Over the years, the Town of Millis has taken the initiative to revitalize and invigorate their town center by encouraging compact and mixed-use developments. With support of the Metro Boston Sustainable Communities Consortium, the Town will work with MAPC on two major opportunities to redevelop and revitalize former industrial sites.

Financial analyses of alternative development scenarios will seek to promote mixed-use redevelopment in the town center. A Community Forum will engage residents in local design making regarding development and implementation strategies. There will be opportunities to introduce issues related to fair and affordable housing into the process and this project has high potential for learning and replicability.

Fields Corner Transit Oriented Development Strategy

Fields Corner housesApplicant: Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. (Viet-AID) 
Activity Type: CDC Pre-Development Planning
Geography: Fields Corner Neighborhood in Boston
Project Partners: Greater Four Corners Action Coalition; Dorchester House; City of Boston
Funding Approved: $60,000

This project will help Viet-AID to advance housing and economic development projects in an immigrant community, and help to build a vibrant, diverse and sustainable Fields Corner community.

Building on past successes and lessons learned, this project will support pre-development and planning activities to engage Vietnamese immigrants and long-term residents in planning and implementing a community mobilization initiative; and develop high-density and green housing around the Fields Corner T Station that provides mixed-income housing to low and moderate income families - giving these families good alternative to driving and access to employment opportunities, and expanding customer base to support neighborhood businesses.

From Mills to Main Streets

Lynn, Mass.Applicant: Immigrant Learning Center
Activity Type: Entrepreneur Assistance
Geography: City of Lynn
Project Partners: MassINC and MACDC
Funding Approved: $60,000

Small immigrant businesses play a critical role in the renewal of urban neighborhoods and downtowns. They face unique challenges and have a great need for technical assistance and training, but they are largely disconnected from the many economic and community development programs available.

Recognizing that it is critical to develop an infrastructure to support immigrant entrepreneurs, The Immigrant Learning Center has joined with MACDC and MassINC to pilot this special project. It will develop and document best practices in outreach to neighborhood immigrant businesses to be shared through the MAPC region.

Special attention will be paid to economic and community development practitioners in the cities and towns that overlap the MAPC region and the Gateway Cities Initiative (Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Quincy, Revere and Salem). Additional resources will expand programming in interested cities in this cluster. This project will nicely complement the illustrative project currently being scoped in Lynn, which has a focus on land use planning.

View the final report here.

Hingham Master Plan Update Initiative

Hingham ShipyardApplicant: Town of Hingham
Activity Type: Municipal Planning
Geography: Town of Hingham
Project Partners: MAPC
Funding Approved: $50,000

This project is a unique opportunity to guide an inclusive master planning effort in Hingham, a high-opportunity community. In updating the outdated Hingham Master Plan, this project provides the opportunity to create a model for meaningful public engagement in the municipal mastering planning process and to better understand the interest of diverse constituents. It also seeks to promote incorporation of MetroFuture goals in the context of a municipal master plan and more specifically to address issues of fair and affordable housing.

This project will generate innovative techniques that could be adapted by other cities and towns. It has a direct tie-in to Zoning Reform advocacy and strong support from local housing entities. During the scoping phase, MAPC will work with the town to specify products, such as specific policy recommendations, land use plans, or metrics that will continue to guide the process after the visioning phase ends.

MetroWest CD Housing Production Planning

aerial view of MetroWest Mass.Applicant: Watertown Community Development
Activity Type: Housing Production Planning
Geography: Towns of Belmont, Lexington, Watertown, and Waltham
Funding Approved: $60,000

The MetroWest Collaborative Developers (MWCD) is a new regional community development corporation. It has been created to have a bigger and broader impact in the MetroWest communities than the smaller town-based CDCs have had in the past.

This project will support the growth of a new multi-municipal CDC focused on suburban housing development by supporting housing production plans (HPPs) for two or more contiguous suburban municipalities. MWCD will facilitate the creation of housing Production Plans, building upon existing planning efforts and town planning staff knowledge.

MAPC will support the project by gathering data, interviewing stakeholders, authoring the production plans, site analyses and plan facilitation throughout the adoption process. The techniques learned during creation of the HPPs are likely to be replicable in many communities region wide; consequently the project has widely been supported by caucuses.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Planning

BicyclingApplicant: MAPC (plus Towns of Dedham and Westwood)
Activity Type: Bike & Pedestrian Planning
Geography: 4 community clusters: Dedham and Westwood; Quincy to Boston; Hudson, Stow, Maynard, and Marlboro; and Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Malden, Saugus, and Lynn
Project Partners: Dedham and Westwood
Funding Approved: $65,000 (Westwood and Dedham will be folded into the MAPC scope and included as a fourth community cluster)

MAPC will assist several groups of communities in advancing pedestrian and bicycle planning, with the goals of encouraging the implementation of pedestrian and bicycle accommodation at the local level and creating networks for safe non-vehicular travel.

Rather than small-scale planning of individual neighborhoods, large-scale planning of community clusters allows for greater regional impacts, establishing regional priorities, and a significant increase in the number of potential users.

MAPC has engaged three clusters of cities and towns to target this effort. In addition, two independent but compatible projects, proposed by the Towns of Dedham and Westwood, were brought into the framework of this project and will be included in the MAPC scope as a fourth community cluster.

As part of the planning effort, existing conditions and potential opportunities will be identified for each area. The planning effort will identify priority connections and routes for each of the community clusters, including proposed bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and cross-sections for the major collector roads in the communities. This will be followed by recommendations for implementation and at the conclusion of the planning effort, each of the partner municipalities will be responsible for implementing these recommendations.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Network Project page

Promoting Smart Growth Sewering in Two Maturing or Developing Suburbs

Applicant: Charles River Watershed Association
Activity Type: Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Planning
Geography: Two Developing Suburbs
Project Partners: Dr. Donald Zizzie and MAPC
Funding Approved: $30,000

Smart Sewering has the potential to promote a new growth paradigm for small towns in New England by using water infrastructure to focus development downtown.

The current wastewater approach uses large regional systems that damage local streamflow quantity and quality, and are energy intensive. Smart Sewering is a proactive planning process that promotes focused and smart growth, preserving natural resources, and reducing energy needs.

Open space and farms outside the downtown area can be preserved with transfer of development rights. Water budgets can be restored by recharging treated wastewater so rivers can have clean adequate flow for fish and human use. Renewable energy can be generated from a combination of wastewater and recycled food waste thus reducing greenhouse emissions. Furthermore, economic revenue from the project could potentially create less reliance on taxes.

In this project, experience derived from a Smart Sewering project in Littleton will be used to develop a workshop series that presents the technical, economic and environmental advantages and challenges associated with Smart Sewering. Four towns will be selected from developing or maturing suburbs in the MAPC region and a workshop process will promote local and regional planning relevant to wastewater management. At the end of this project, the most suitable community will be selected for a subsequent feasibility project.

Route 9 MetroWest Smart Growth Plan

Route 9, Mass.Applicant: MetroWest Regional Collaborative
Activity Type: Local Planning
Geography: Rt. 9 Corridor in: Southborough, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley
Project Partners: The four Towns
Funding Approved: $39,000

The MetroWest Regional Collaborative (MWRC) and MAPC worked with Southborough, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley on the Route 9 Smart Growth plan that further develops the recommendations outlined in the Route 9 Corridor Analysis.

The Route 9 Smart Growth Plan includes alternative designs and land uses for several smart growth opportunity areas along with computer visualizations, traffic analysis, design guidelines, and zoning recommendations.  By advancing the recommendations of the Route 9 Corridor Analysis, the Route 9 Smart Growth Plan focuses on the potential for compact, mixed-use (housing, office, and commercial) developments that are pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

The report and appendices can be dowloaded below:

Route 9 MetroWest Smart Growth Plan

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

For additional information about this project, please go to:

Route 9 Smart Growth Plan and Corridor Study

Urban Green Infrastructure in the Mystic River Communities

Applicant: Mystic River Watershed AssociationRain garden
Activity Type: Urban Open Space/Green Infrastructure
Geography: The Broadway Neighborhood of Chelsea
Project Partners: Charles River Watershed Association, Chelsea Collaborative, City of Chelsea, and MAPC
Funding Approved: $70,000

Although there have been some notable efforts across the state to install green infrastructure systems, there is still great need for systematic assessment of opportunities at sub-watershed or neighborhood levels and translation of these opportunities into a greening infrastructure plan.

This project will help fill that gap by identifying opportunities for green infrastructure retrofits at a neighborhood (sub-watershed) level and developing a plan that identifies potential sites, open space networks and streets that lend themselves to being retrofitted to function as green infrastructure. The proposal will help to reduce water pollution and improve environmental quality through development of a Green Infrastructure Retrofit Plan for one neighborhood in Chelsea, with a focus on stormwater management.

An integral part of project planning will be the engagement of a variety of stakeholders including: the neighborhood’s resident community, municipal agencies, local institutions and businesses. Through this engagement and through the development of plans for neighborhood improvement that reflects local stakeholder vision and aspiration, the project will address issues of equity and inclusion.

Regional objectives will be further advanced through a thorough evaluation of project outcomes and methods that will help to standardize and scale up this effort, including the development of standard tools for urban greening in the Mystic River Watershed and in densely developed cities and towns throughout the MAPC region.